Top Considerations for Parents When Choosing a New School for Their Child4 min read
So, your child is leaving for college, and you need to select a new school. While quality Academic programs, quality educators, and services all factor heavily into selecting a new school for your child, safety and security are equally important even if they don’t often factor into the choice of a university.
Gun violence at Virginia Tech, the COVID pandemic, and emergencies all place today’s students in harm’s way. Safety is now more than ever among the top priorities when selecting a new school, so what should parents be considering when evaluating potential educational institutions?
Fortunately, technological advancements have improved security tenfold, and parents should be evaluating if the colleges they are considering have integrated new security technology and if the campus affords a sense of safety and security to students.
What To Look for When Choosing a New School
Management of school campuses, buildings, and properties with integrated security measures becomes crucial for actual security and the atmosphere provided in terms of safety.
Security features to look for include:
- Access management and keyless control
- Video Security
- Pedestrian safety
- Comprehensive system integration
- Risk detection
- Automatic Lockdown
- School Security and Emergency Apps
Managing access is one of the most important security steps a school can take regardless of whether for school or residential buildings. Entrances and exits using digital systems prevent unwanted visitors from entering. Wireless and keyless door locks can be controlled to remotely lock and unlock doors and control who is entering and leaving facilities. If student cards or fobs are utilized and lost, they can be quickly deactivated to prevent unwanted visitors to school properties. Video access control provides security teams with another tool for anticipating security issues and intervening rapidly if need be.
Video cameras should be integrated into access management systems to oversee all activities on campus. Video security offers optimal methods for the management of large numbers of people in auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, hallways, outdoor areas, and libraries.
Video analytics surveillance can alert security teams to potential issues and security procedures can integrate alert messaging and be in direct contact with local law enforcement and emergency services.
Pedestrian Safety, Visibility, Smart Lighting, and More
How a student feels when navigating a campus whether cycling, walking, riding a scooter, or driving can influence a student’s overall educational experience especially if a perceived lack of safety becomes a source of daily stress and worry.
The presence of campus security should be adequate in relation to the size of the property and the number of students and staff frequenting the school. Good relations between security personnel and students need to be encouraged and reinforced.
Visibility should be a priority with increased lighting along sidewalks, pathways, parking lots, and surrounding areas including an increase in the number of security cameras. Both lighting and video security act as deterrents to criminal behavior. If areas are not well-lit, students will not feel safe, while security videos can encourage proper behavior.
Digital signage both indoors and outdoors can also flash emergency messages instantaneously including weather information. LED-lit crosswalks activated by sensors will protect pedestrians from those cycling or driving on campus.
Comprehensive System Integration
The most effective way to ensure security is when all systems are managed from a single unified platform. Access control, security video systems, data, alert systems, and alarms in direct contact with law enforcement, first responders, and school administrators and security teams will facilitate immediate emergency intervention when needs arise while keeping everyone informed that is in the vicinity of a dangerous situation.
Repeated shooting incidents on university campuses and in schools around the nation have left us stunned. Each incident has destroyed trust in educational institutions nationwide. Firearms on campus and inside school buildings amply demonstrate the need for new detection technology that sends a communication within a second of detection or a shot being fired.
X-ray machines or metal detectors positioned at entrances may be introduced to prevent firearms, dangerous objects, or weapons from entering the premises. Security personnel will be able to confiscate potentially dangerous objects.
Automatic lockdown systems should be partnered with police and emergency first responders. Through automatic lockdown, doors, entrances, and exits can be controlled if necessary.
Mobile Device Apps
Universities and schools that invest and create apps for safety alerts aid in protecting students and staff from potentially dangerous events. Apps are a great instrument and probably the fastest method for informing students of crises. They can alert to lockdowns, inclement weather, fires, and other safety hazards and may also include the possibility for students to call for emergency assistance or medical attention.
Security as an Educational Priority
The only way for students to fully embrace and benefit from an educational experience is if they feel safe to do so. Environmental safety and strategies to protect students need to be in place and operative. Emergencies from inclement weather to fires or school violence and shootings are unexpected and can have a crippling effect on all involved whether students, teachers, administrators, staff, or visitors.
Schools have a responsibility to protect those on campus and can improve security through investment in advanced security technologies. Appropriate safety strategies equate with preparedness for the unforeseen and parents will find reassurance in knowing that the school they select has security equipment and procedures in place should the need arise.